DEC
2019
   LOG CABIN CHRONICLES    UPDATED
DAILY

Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
spacer
spacer
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 6.25.20
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

TRUMP AND HIS OLD GLORY

Last Saturday was the day of the big rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for President Trump. He wants to be re-elected and his nationalistic approach to be affirmed. (I started to say 'approach to governing' but that would have been a misstatement.) In the past he has wrapped himself in our flag, literally and talked about closing the borders. In Tulsa, he actually had the American flag modified to contain a picture of himself. Desecration?

flag

The U.S. Code Title 18,700 addresses desecration of the flag of the United States. In section (a)(1), it states: Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. The code goes on to define 'the term 'flag of the United States' means any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is commonly displayed.'

The flag of the United States is sometimes burned as cultural or political statements, in protest of the policies of the U.S. government, or for other reasons. During the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, American flags were sometimes burned during war protest demonstrations. This upset a lot of people and Congress passed the law mentioned above.

However, the United States Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), and reaffirmed in U.S. v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990), ruled that the First Amendment of our Constitution bars any government, federal, state, or local, from prohibiting the desecration of a flag, due to its status as 'symbolic speech. There have been several proposed Flag Desecration Amendments to the Constitution of the United States that would allow Congress to enact laws to prohibit flag desecration, none passed the Congress.

This brings us back to Tulsa, and as we now recognize, one man's desecration is another's free speech. However, our flag represents us at our best: forming a more perfect Union, establishing Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. So, while it may not be illegal, using our flag for personal gain and to denigrate others, is in really bad taste. Or as my 15 year old granddaughter would say: Ewww Gross!

HOME   COLUMNS   FEATURES   FICTION   OPINION   POETRY   PHOTOGRAPHY